PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Election day protests swept Haiti on Sunday evening, when thousands of people took to the streets to rally against what they believed was widespread fraud in the day's presidential race, including pre-stuffed ballots and thousands missing from voter rolls.
Voting bureaus were trashed and set on fire, international elections monitors withdrew in the middle of the voting, and some precincts closed due to sporadic violence.
The nation appeared headed to political crisis late Sunday as supporters of opposition candidates Michel Martelly, Charles Henri Baker and Mirlande Manigat poured into the streets in major cities throughout the country, asking for the presidential and legislative elections to be voided.
They weren't the only ones: A dozen of the 19 presidential candidates vying for Haiti's top post urged for ``peaceful protests'' against ``massive fraud'' in the country's presidential and legislative races.
``The election is ruined. It needs to be canceled,'' said former prime minister and presidential candidate Jacques-Edouard Alexis. ``Our history has always shown that it's the people who give the power.''
The Provisional Electoral Council said only 3.56 percent or 56 of the 1,500 voting centers had problems and that the results would, for now, be recognized.
In Grande Riviere du Nord, a town near Cap Haitien, hundreds marched singing ``Down with Préval. Arrest Préval. Down with Gaillot,'' referring to Haitian President René Préval and elections chief Dorsinvil Gaillot.
In Cap Haitien, at least 2,000 hit the streets chanting ``Martelly is our President.''
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